News & links: Collapse

There's a lot going on in the news, very little of it good. That's the way it always is, but you and I and everyone knows it's gotten worse. Not as bad as it's going to get, though.



#409  [archive]
MAR. 15, 2024

Elections are coming in the US, and fascism is polling quite strongly.

Climate becomes crueler, and crop failures seem not merely possible, but likely. Imagine empty store shelves, not for a week due to supply chain issues, but long-term because there's not enough food to stock the shelves.

The ocean currents are well out of whack already, and getting worse.

Russia vs Ukraine.

Israel killing Gaza.

Experts tell us the economy is doing well, and it is, if you're rich.

Artificial intelligence, and less of the real thing.

Are we ready for another pandemic, while the last one's still hitting us?

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

And I'm not joking. Like never before in human history, we live our lives atop a house of cards while the wind is blowing. When one or two things go wrong, everything's going to collapse.

Will that be this spring? In the summer? Seems entirely possible. Or, maybe we'll be lucky and the world we're accustomed to will last into the next year, or the year after. However long it lasts, it's only a matter of time. Our days are numbered, and the number is dwindling. 

My strategy for survival is, I'm old and hope to be dead before everything is ruined. For the generation after me, though, and the generations after that, there's nothing that'll save them.

In states with laws targeting LGBTQ issues, school hate crimes quadrupled
    Again, this isn't an accidental side effect. This is the whole point — Republicans want gay, bi, and trans kids dead... and gay, bi, and trans adults, too.

In community after community, US hospitals are closing
    That's how capitalism works, when health care is run for profit. 

Lyft and Uber say they will leave Minneapolis after city council forces them to pay drivers more
    Excellent. If a company's business model is built on paying less-than-livable wages, that company shouldn't be welcome, or even allowed to exist. 

Texans scramble for VPNs after adult sites go dark: Here are some great ones.
    With or without porn, any VPN is a good idea for those who prefer privacy.
    An unpaid plug: I use Mozilla’s VPN. It’s about $60 p/year, installs with two clicks, and it simply works.

Deadspin is sold, to be gutted
    Deadspin wasn't the finest in news, but it was in the top few dozen. If there still are a few dozen.

In a first, Vice President Harris tours Minnesota clinic that performs abortions
    This is the first sorta smart move I've seen from the Biden campaign. It signals which party might give a damn about women's rights.
    On the downside, of course, the clinic Harris visited will undoubtedly be firebombed soon. 

AI could pose 'extinction-level' threat to humans and the US must intervene, State Dept.-commissioned report warns  

Without informing you, automakers are selling data on your driving habits to your insurer 

Mississippi Governor to pardon all simple marijuana possession charges 

Republican nominee for North Carolina schools superintendent shared violent fantasies about killing Biden over masks and televising Obama execution 

Right-wing weirdos are eager to buy TikTok after House votes to force Chinese owners to sell it 

Facebook is killing misinformation analysis tool, as election nears 

Musk sits for interview with Twitter's Dom Lemon, then fires him 

Why the world cannot afford the rich 

Amusing, Interesting, Outrageous, or Profound
    AIOP is my Lemmy page, for anything that's (in my opinion) amusing, interesting, outrageous, or profound. It's mostly a rough draft of this page, but you're invited to stop by.

♫♬  MUSIC  ♫ 

Aerobique — Richard Simmons 

Everything I Own — Bread 

In Spite of Ourselves — John Prine with Iris Dement 

Outsider — Chumbawamba 

Time After Time — Cyndi Lauper 


Percy Adlon
moviemaker, Bagdad Cafe

Paul Alexander
polio survivor 

Brian Ashheim
forgotten man 

John Barnett
aerospace engineer, Boeing whistleblower 

Ron Busniuk
hockey player, Thunder Bay Twins 

Eric Carmen
rock'n'roller, "All By Myself" 

Joe Camp
moviemaker, Benji

Michael Culver
actor, The Empire Strikes Back

Connie Eaves
cancer researcher 

Ernie Fields Jr
session player, saxophone 

Jerry Foley
director, Late Show With David Letterman

'Protest' Bob Hansen
homeless advocate 

Molly Holzschlag
"fairy godmother of the open web" 

Herbert Kroemer
physicist, semiconductor heterostructures 

Doris Ann Ladner
civil rights activist 

Roberto Leoni
screenwriter, Santa Sangre

Gerald Levin
🖕 merger maniac, AOL-Time Warner 

Jim McAndrew
baseballer, New York Mets 

David Mixner
gay rights advocate 

Bill Plummer
baseballer, Cincinnati Reds 

Pete Rodriguez
boogaloo, "I Like It Like That" 

T.M. Stevens
session player, bass 

Misha Suslov
cinematographer, Black Moon Rising

Karl Wallinger
rock'n'roller, World Party


Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited. 

Tip 'o the hat to the AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Chuff, Dirty Blonde Mind, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Lemmy.world, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo emeritus, Jeff Meyer, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.


  1. Mozilla's VPN is probably good enough too but I always recommend Mullvad. It's the only VPN I really trust. You don't have to give them an email and you can even pay with cash, via mail.

    1. Mozilla's VPN is Mullvad, rented and rebranded, I think, so we're like literally on the same wavelength.

    2. Interesting, I didn't know that. Why use Mozilla's VPN then? It's more expensive in the short term and collects more data.

    3. Mozilla has a good reputation for not collecting data, which helps keep it my browser of choice. Also very customizable.

      Didn't know the VPN was rebranded Mullvad until long after I'd signed up, but I never did any comparison shopping, just happy to support Mozilla.

  2. Damn if it isn't Monday again, and time to bust up perfectly good albums into questionable singles and hold a sing-along down by the old spitfire.

    The first to do the boogie for you all this evening is Canned Heat off their fine album Boogie With Canned Heat. This is a tune they made up as they went to introduce an early incarnation of the band to the world. It's called Fried Hockey Boogie.


    The next tune is actually off a DVD, but it's been covered by more men than Lauren Boebert and by a passle of women who didn't want to catch anything, but in this case it's sung by its creator, Townes Van Zandt. The DVD is Heartworn Highways which you should just go out and buy. The song is Pancho and Lefty.


    This is a song I've posted to this site before and damn well will again before I die. It's "Joanne", written by Michael Nesmith and first recorded on the album Magnetic South by Michael Nesmith and the First National Band.


    And finally here's the great John Prine from his fine album Diamonds in the Rough with "The Great Compromise". Hint: this song ain't about drive-in movies.


    Thanks for listening, and don't forget to boogie ... boogie ... boogie.


    1. Never get out of the boat, man, and never forget to boogie. It's my natural state, even when there's no music at all, and I'm just horizontal in the recliner. That's my clandestine boogie.

      Canned Heat should be better remembered. One of the ways live music is better, the introductions rarely done on albums.

      Nothing but respect for the songwriter Mr Van Zandt, but ah, I think I'll stay under the covers.

      Nesmith would be welcome every Monday. He was the Lennon of the Monkees.

      Mostly it was you who turned me toward John Prine, and I thank you for that. On the bright side, he didn't have to share the popcorn...

  3. There's a one hour documentary on Voyager on Tubi that is available. I've watched about 20 minutes of it but it's quarter after four in the morning and I'll watch the rest tomorrow. This is the address for the preview, and I think it's how I got to the full hour doc. . .


    The Mission Engineer is 87 years old. There are somewhere between 8 and 12 people still working on Voyager, down from a couple thousand. It's really a remarkable story that might well outlive homo sapiens sapiens. The administrator is a woman who started her career with a subset of a support team as a junior engineer for the Voyage program, and she looks to be about 65 now. I think of all the projects I worked on for 45 years, and although the functions they support are still there, the hardware and software are long gone and past even repurposing. Very little I accomplished still remains. These people are working on a project that has lasted close to the duration of a career and might continue well past that. I can't imagine not wanting to watch this doc.


    1. "It's really a remarkable story that might well outlive homo sapiens sapiens."

      Voyager diligently sending back data to a dead planet in a solar system it's escaped from is an even better science fiction premise than the automated house in Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains."

    2. The movie is on the list, coming soon to a recliner near me.

      The short story is already here.

    3. Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I’ve tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.


    4. Jeez, I'm such a dolt. I know that poem, but it's the first time I've grokked that's what inspired the titles for George R R R R Martin's "Fire and Ice" series.

  4. It's just after six in the morning and I couldn't turn the damn thing off. Had a dish of ice cream and watched the rest. You probably have to be a space and engineering junkie to love this as much as I do. Damn, it's the little things that stand out. The empty waste basket of someone who spent 35 years on the project but retired before the Voyagers did. The Voyagers themselves, which are failing almost atom by atom, but keep sending back data about what lies beyond our solar system. They have to run on less and less power as they expend the small amount of power they can generate, and the team, which is also getting smaller as they retire, has to choose what NOT to monitor next. I recommend this doc.


    1. You're reminding me of me sainted pop. He didn't work on Voyager, but he was on the Saturn V and SST and Stealth projects. He'd love that flick, but he'd be embarrassed by what Boeing's become.

    2. Wow, those are three very different projects. What was his specialty?


    3. Metallurgy, and chemistry, but what got him a long career was enthusiasm and all that now-outdated stuff.

  5. I'm of the opinion *Collapse* is good for the human soul. Whether a person believes in the supernatural or not, it ought to be evident the current ways of the world are not healthy. Let it all fall away, maybe the survivors can find a healthier way to go about things. If not, let's just find a dirty mattress in a shoe box size room to have some fun with Katie Britt until it all goes black.

    1. Ms Britt is not invited to my shoebox size room. Standards!

  6. By the way, I don't know whether I ever mentioned the title of the 90 minute doc on Voyager: it's "It's Quieter in the Twilight". What a lovely title.


    1. Also on the list, downloaded and waiting for its turn in the I's. :)

    2. Well, I guess that beats the Qs or the Vs.


  7. As cheerful and upbeat as ever!

  8. Replies
    1. Reading the darkest black magic book, the Necronomicon, is a walk in the park on a sunny spring morning, compared to the news these days.

      - Zeke Krahlin

    2. Oh whoa, is that just a literary reference for a laugh, or are you a witch or warlock or whatever? If you've actually read it, could you plz give me a paragraph or two review? I am lightly curious, but not enough to do any reading or googling, sorry.

      And yeah, the news has always been bad but it's never been worse. I do believe this comfortable society is as good as finished.

    3. Literary reference. The Necronomicon is a fictional tome invented by H.P. Lovecraft. See:


      But yes, I am a wizard in the dream world. Aren't we all? 🧙‍♂️

      - Zeke Krahlin

    4. Never read much Lovecraft, but The Necronomicon is mentioned often in the movies, and I honestly wasn't sure whether it was real.

      Are you a good wizard, or a bad wizard? I'd be both, depending on my mood.

    5. I'm all good, I don't let bad moods take over...that'll just get you stuck on one level and lose half your power-ups.

  9. Here is another excerpt from the book of the dead that was pretty damn predictive . . .

    I read the news today, oh boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh

    I saw the photograph
    He blew his mind out in a car
    He didn't notice that the lights had changed
    A crowd of people stood and stared
    They'd seen his face before
    Nobody was really sure
    If he was from the House of Lords

    I saw a film today, oh boy
    The English Army had just won the war
    A crowd of people turned away
    But I just had to look
    Having read the book
    I'd love to turn you on

    Woke up, got out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
    And looking up I noticed I was late

    Found my coat and grabbed my hat
    Made the bus in seconds flat
    Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
    Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

    I read the news today, oh boy
    Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
    And though the holes were rather small
    They had to count them all
    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
    I'd love to turn you on

    1. Actually, this was written BEFORE the Necronomicon. This is
      some SERIOUSLY ANCIENT wisdom.


    2. I may have known at some point, but today I don't know what the lyrics really mean, if anything. Sorta nonsensical. But I'd be surprised if it's Necronomicon-related. Or ancient.

      I am (easily) confused.

    3. Hmmm, A Day in the Life makes perfect sense to me, but the Necronomicon doesn't make any sense at all. And A Day in the Life is only ancient compared with the Necronomicon, which was written in 1981. I doubt that you are easily confused.


    4. I have only this morning made the connection between "the news has always been bad" and what followed. Smiled at it, yes, but I'd been confused all of yesterday.


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